Tripod Versus The Dragon [Review]

August 11, 2010 Off By Chris Hinton

The Edinburgh Fringe is a great melting pot of talent… some absolutely brilliant, and some woefully awful. It’s always a bit of a pot luck when you decide to go to a Fringe show, and I had that in mind when our friends invited my wife and I to go with them to “Tripod Versus The Dragon” at Assembly @ Assembly Halls. Would it be worth the price of the ticket, or would I be wishing I’d stayed at home instead?
Tripod are a three-man musical group from Australia, known for tight harmonies and a wicked sense of humour. Tripod Versus The Dragon was their celebration of the Dungeons and Dragons roleplaying game and sees them getting lost in their fantasy along with jazz singer Elana Stone. The storyline starts with the group setting up a D&D game, and then draws you into the fantasy as they adventure their way to a climactic finale.
Hang on, Dungeons and Dragons? Is this for normal people or just geeks? Well, of the four of us, the two women in our party have little or no geek leanings at all, and both enjoyed the show. As for the two guys… well, we’re a bit more geeky and absolutely loved it. If you have no interest in roleplaying games but just enjoy a good story and great music this will suit you fine. On the other hand, if you do know about RPGs, there’s even more to enjoy as the jokes just keep on coming.
The night was musically brilliant. Tripod are fantastic singers and Elana (playing The Dragon) just blew the audience away. There was a moment towards the end of her first song when I started to wonder whether we should applaud or just sit there in stunned silence. The applause won out, though, and it was well deserved.
I know much of the banter in the show must have been scripted, but Tripod and Elana have put much effort into making it all look very natural and fun. And the little moments when things went off the script (a dodgy jack on Gatesy’s guitar or unexpected audience participation, for example) gave little insights to the guys’ quick wit and sense of humour.
If you’re making the trip to Edinburgh for the Fringe this year, and if you want to hear some fantastic music, enjoy some great comedy, and feed your inner geek for an evening, Tripod Versus The Dragon has to be on the list of shows you see. It takes place at Assembly @ Assembly Halls (The Church of Scotland assembly building on The Mound), runs until the 29th of September, and you can book tickets from the Fringe website.
Oh, and I nearly forgot the loot! Well, it’s not really loot – you have to pay for it – but if you buy a show bag for a tenner you get a CD of some of the songs from the show and a little pouch containing some twenty-sided dice (or d20)… you know, just in case the show inspires you to try out some RPGing yourself.
Tripod Versus The Dragon is also available from iTunes.